Christian Horner has reiterated that Red Bull do not have a number one driver within their team as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez battle for the F1 title.
The team from Milton Keynes have put together a superb car and the RB19 is very much the pick of the bunch on the 2023 grid, with the likes of Aston Martin, Mercedes, and Ferrari all trying to reel them in.
Indeed, it’s quite hard to see how the team doesn’t take both championships this year, even at this early stage in the season, and that means that if we’re going to get a fight in terms of the drivers’ title, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez will need to be given equal opportunity.
Some have levelled in the past that Verstappen is seen as the number one at Red Bull and will therefore be favoured over Perez, or whoever his team-mate is, when push comes to shove, but Horner has reaffirmed that that is not the case and whoever is ahead on track will eventually get the preferential treatment when it comes to the championship fight.
Speaking to Seb Coe’s podcast, Extraordinary Tales with Seb Coe, Horner said:
“I think the most important thing as a team is to play with a straight bat, to treat them equally – we don’t have a number one driver.
“Our number one driver is whoever is ahead on the circuit and you earn that by what you do on the circuit, not through a contract. That’s the way we’ve always operated.”
The Monaco Grand Prix is up next this weekend and that has the potential to provide a fresh twist in the championship fight.
Perez won in Monte-Carlo last year after putting in a fine drive and has earned a reputation for being a street circuits specialist, with wins in his career being recorded at the likes of Baku, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia.
He seems to come alive when the walls get close and he’ll be hoping to continue that trend this weekend, especially after Verstappen was so dominant last time out at the Miami Grand Prix, where no one came remotely close to matching his pace in all truth.
Fans watching on will also be hoping that Perez can continue to keep Verstappen honest this season, meanwhile, as otherwise it’s hard to see the Dutchman not waltzing to a third straight title by the end of 2023.